31 July 2008
Indian agri-tourism ploughing to success
The Agri Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) has been running a pilot tourism program in Baramati over the past four years, and results show it has been enormously successful.
The program is intended to boost the farming industry by attracting tourists to the area, who are then encouraged to participate in farming activities, practice the everyday life as experienced by almost 75 per cent of Indians, and buy mementos from the local producers.
In a paper posted on Scrbd, Director of ATDC Pandurang Taware said visitors can participate in "agricultural operations, swimming, bullock cart riding, camel riding, buffalo riding, cooking, and… rural games." In the program, tourists are offered a very basic lifestyle to ensure they pragmatically experience Indian agricultural life.
Almost 26 per cent of India’s GDP comes from agriculture, so it is important for the country to maximise from the industry in as many ways as possible.
According to the Economic Times, Malegaon village recorded 13,200 tourists visited last year as part of the ATDC project, and as a result of the projects success Mr Taware will expand the project to have 250 units state-wide.
"The project has brought new spots like Baramati on the tourist map. Almost 28,000 tourists have visited Baramati in the past four years, thanks to this initiative," said Mr Taware.
"Agri-tourism is a good picnic option for tourists and a confidence-building measure for farmers. Looking at the response this year we are trying to introduce at least 2,000 people to the concept and 50 farmers will be motivated to impart services to the guests," Amit Naseri, Director of Sampada Responsible Tourism Services told the newspaper.
International visitors to India must have an Indian visa to enter the country. Indian tourist visas are usually valid for up to six months, and the visa holder is not allowed to work under the visa conditions. For short-stay visits, tourists can also apply for a 15 day transit visa.
The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in India visas and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.